The Central Bank of Bahrain has awarded bitcoin technology provider, Belfrics Global, a sandbox license to open and operate a cryptocurrency exchange in the Arabian Gulf nation. As such, Belfrics is reported to have become the first company to receive an official mandate to open a cryptocurrency exchange in the Middle Eastern/North African region.
Central Bank of Bahrain Grants Sandbox License to Belfrics
Malaysian-based cryptocurrency technology provider, Belfrics Global, has successfully received a mandate from Bahrain’s central bank to open a cryptocurrency exchange in the nation. The approval granted by the central bank of Bahrain is expected to give Belfrics access to the $50 billion USD digital transaction industry of the Middle Eastern/North African nation.
The Chairman and CEO of Belfrics Global, Mr. Praveen Kumar Vijayakumar, has welcomed the sandbox licensing, stating “We are excited to receive this approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) as it provides access to a $50 billion digital transaction market in the MENA region alone. This is a first of many licenses that we are targeting for the year 2018. Bahrain is an ideal region for us to showcase our cryptocurrency-based payment systems, and with the help of CBB and other central banks, we will be able to implement our identity management solutions using the Belrium Blockchain pretty soon.” Jabeer KM, Belfrics’ Chief Operating Officer, described the approval as “a perfect start for the year 2018,” adding, “We are also working closely with central banks in Africa, Middle East and Asia to regulate the cryptocurrency space using our innovative KYC-based blockchain, Belrium.”
Belfrics Expands International Operations
The news comprises a follow-up to announcements from Bahrain’s government in September 2017 that indicated the country’s intention to develop ‘sandbox’ legislation for the cryptocurrency, industryakin, to those enacted by Singapore and the United Kingdom. Alongside the announcement, Khalid Al Rumaihi, the chief executive of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, then indicated the country’s desire to issue bonds via distributed ledger technology. The move has been perceived as intended to further Bahrain’s bid to become a regional fintech hub, despite the nation’s small population.
Founded in 2014, the Kuala Lumpur-based company presently operates in Singapore, India, Kenya, China, Indonesia, Malaysia Dubai and Hong Kong, in addition to providing point of sale (POS) and other payment technology to merchants wanting to accept cryptocurrency as a method of payment. Belfrics’ Singaporean exchange comprises what it describes as a ‘global exchange’ that provides cryptocurrency pairings using USD as its base currency, whilst the company’s other exchanges are described as ‘local’ – exclusively offering pairings in the national currency for the country in which the exchange is domiciled. Belfrics has also indicated its intention to expand its African presence by opening exchanges based in Nigeria, Botswana, and Ghana.